Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Mammy Doll's Meanings

March 15, 2003

I was delighted by Elizabeth Chin's "Mammy Dearest," a wonderful satire in Opinion (March 9) on the excesses of political correctness. She almost had me thinking she was serious.

A reasonable person might indeed be offended by the sale, much less the continued manufacture of a doll based upon racial stereotypes and slavery. But when Chin complained that because of the location of the pin cushion "the pins would be stabbing right into her womb," I knew she was putting us on.

Chin made her humorous intent clear by ending her piece claiming that voodoo dolls are "the creation of the irrational white imagination." In the annals of political correctness there has never been such a ludicrous proposition. Hats off to Chin for giving us a little levity while we otherwise wait with anxiety to see if a war in Iraq is going to blow up in our faces.

Thomas E. Shardlow

Pasadena

*

Chin hasn't researched far back enough to discover what I witnessed as a little girl in the 1930s. I saw many fancy, decorative pincushion dolls with intricate china faces and upper bodies costumed in old-fashioned gowns that became soft, full-skirted pincushions below the waist. Many women sewed and used these utilitarian objects as ornaments to display, not "voodoo dolls." The "Mammy" held a place of respect in many homes. This design may have been a tribute to her and her abilities. I believe the author wrote this article in ignorance of the origins of this pincushion.

Arliss Ahrling

Laguna Niguel

*

Chin blames racial misrepresentations on "the irrational white imagination," thus calling into question the mental abilities of an entire race. If she is looking for racial hatred, she should start by examining her own words. By hurling racial epithets, Chin made sure to offend and alienate the majority of her readers, thus rendering her interesting observations about the historical and psychological meanings of racial dolls less effective. It is a testament to the depth of Chin's obvious racial hatred that she would rather stifle the effectiveness of her own essay than hold back on the name-calling.

The only thing worse than Chin's insults is the fact that The Times published them. You would never print an op-ed that spoke of "the irrational black imagination" or "the irrational Latino imagination."

David J. Holloway

Redondo Beach

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|